It seems that terrorism goes back to even 2000 years ago when a Jewish extremist group tried to expel the Romans and their sympathizers at the beginning of the 1st century AD with the use of daggers hidden in their cloaks, hence the name “sicarii,” which means “dagger.” In a public gathering, the zealots pulled their daggers to attack not only the Romans and their sympathizers, but all Jewish collaborators including the Herodians and Sadducees.
The Reign of Terror
Popularly known as ‘The Terror,’ this was an era of violence that started on September 5, 1793 and ended only on July 28, 1794 during the French Revolution. The conflict between the Girondins and the Jacobins had resulted in mass executions including the death of 16, 594 people under the guillotine. This is also the first time that the word “terrorist” was used by Edmund Burke in 1795.
Orsini was an Italian revolutionary leader of the “Carbonari” who attempted to assassinate the French Emperor Napoleon III on January 14, 1858 while he and the Empress Eugénie de Montijo were on their way to the theater by throwing three bombs at the royal carriage. The incident resulted in the death of 8 bystanders while injuring 142 more. He was also a conspirator involved in dethroning the pope and attempted to assassinate Napoleon III believing that he was a major impediment to Italian independence. Interestingly enough his terrorist acts inspired the first Russian terrorist groups.
Wall Street Bombing
A terrorist attack that was centered in the Financial District of New York, this happened on September 16, 1920 and killed 38 people while injuring 400 more resulting in $2 million in damages. The attack involved a horse-drawn wagon containing 45 kg of dynamite with 230 kg of slugs detonating and instantly killing the brokers, clerks, messengers and stenographers working in the area and destroying the interior of the JP Morgan building. The crime was never solved though it was believed that the group behind it was the Italian anarchist Galleanists who were responsible for a series of bombings that year. It was also tied to labor struggles, postwar social unrest and anti-capitalist aggression.
St. Nedelya Church Assault
The assault happened on April 16, 1925 when a group of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) blew up the dome of the St. Nedelya Church during the wake of General Konstantin Georgiev, who was assassinated just two days prior by the same group while heading for an evening mass at the Sofia church. It killed 150 people, a majority of them prominent government and military officials, with 500 people wounded. The attack was carried out by the Military Organization (MO) of the BCP who were tasked to carry out isolated attacks with 25 kg of explosives mounted in a package above one the columns of the main dome at the south entrance of the church set to detonate with a 15-m long cable to allow the attackers a chance to escape.